Solitons and their ghosts in PT-symmetric systems with defocusing nonlinearities

V. Achilleos, P. G.Kevrekidis, D. J. Frantzeskakis, R. Carretero-Gonzalez

We examine a prototypical nonlinear Schrodinger model bearing a defocusing nonlinearity and Parity-Time (PT) symmetry. For such a model, the solutions can be identified numerically and characterized in the perturbative limit of small gain/loss. There we find two fundamental phenomena. First, the dark solitons that persist in the presence of the PT-symmetric potential are destabilized via a symmetry breaking (pitchfork) bifurcation. Second, the ground state and the dark soliton die hand-in-hand in a saddle-center bifurcation (a nonlinear analogue of the PT-phase transition) at a second critical value of the gain/loss parameter. The daughter states arising from the pitchfork are identified as “ghost states”, which are not exact solutions of the original system, yet they play a critical role in the system’s dynamics. A similar phenomenology is also pairwise identified for higher excited states, with e.g. the two-soliton structure bearing similar characteristics to the zero-soliton one, and the three-soliton state having the same pitchfork destabilization mechanism and saddle-center collision (in this case with the two-soliton) as the one-dark soliton. All of the above notions are generalized in two-dimensional settings for vortices, where the topological charge enforces the destabilization of a two-vortex state and the collision of a no-vortex state with a two-vortex one, of a one-vortex state with a three-vortex one, and so on. The dynamical manifestation of the instabilities mentioned above is examined through direct numerical simulations.
Pattern Formation and Solitons (nlin.PS); Soft Condensed Matter (cond-mat.soft)

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